Coronavirus Morning News Brief – May 15: North Korea in ‘Great Turmoil,’ Fewer Americans Are Practicing Social Distancing

Massachusetts Settles Lawsuit Over Deadly Covid Outbreak at Veterans’ Home

By Jonathan Spira on 15 May 2022
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A park in Boston

Good morning. This is Jonathan Spira reporting. Here now the news of the pandemic from across the globe on the 766th day of the pandemic.

Here’s a look at what has taken place over the past 24 hours.


The state of Massachusetts announced a $56 million settlement with the plaintiffs of a class-action lawsuit stemming from a deadly outbreak of the coronavirus at a veterans’ home two years ago, officials there announced.

Some 84 residents at the facility died of coronavirus-related issues and many others residents as well as staff members were infected.

An investigation following the revelation of the situation found that administrators and employees at the home made a series of errors including testing delays and failures to close common spaces, as well as to provide sufficient personal protective equipment.

Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker called the outbreak a “terrible tragedy,” and said that he hopes “this settlement brings a sense of closure to the loved ones of the veterans.”

Meanwhile, researchers reported that Moderna’s coronavirus vaccine elicits a strong immune response in children between the ages of 6 to 11.  Earlier in the week, Moderna had requested authorization from the Food and Drug Administration to inoculate children in this age group.

A Gallup poll conducted between April 15 and April 23  found that 31% of adults in the United States were either “very” or “somewhat worried” about contracting Covid, also revealing that over two-thirds were not nearly as worried, despite the fact that new cases continue to surge.

Almost two-thirds of those surveyed said that the Covid situation is improving.

Meanwhile, only 17% of those surveyed said they “completely” or “mostly” isolated themselves from people outside their household, the lowest figure since the start of the pandemic.


The situation in North Korea continues to decline.  The country, its leader Kim Jong-un said Sunday, is “in great turmoil” due to the outbreak of the coronavirus.

The total number of reported cases stands at 525,000 and the death toll is now 27, although both are believed to be undercounts given the almost complete lack of coronavirus testing capabilities in the country.


Now here are the daily statistics for Sunday, May 15.

As of Sunday morning, the world has recorded 521.1 million Covid-19 cases, an increase of 0.6 million new cases in the preceding 24 hour period, and almost 6.3 million deaths, according to Worldometer, a service that tracks such information. In addition, 475.5 million people worldwide have recovered from the virus, an increase of 0.4 million.

Worldwide, the number of active coronavirus cases as of Sunday is 39,253,42, an increase of 138,000 from the prior day. Out of that figure, 99.9%, or 39,214,350, are considered mild, and 0.1%, or 39,078, are listed as critical.  The percentage of cases considered critical is largely unchanged over the past 24 hours.

The United States reported 25,065 new coronavirus infections on Sunday for the previous day, compared to 107,010 on Saturday, 115,357 on Friday, and 161,535 on Thursday, according to data from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.  The 7-day incidence rate continues to climb and is now 90,403.  Figures for the weekend (reported the following day) are typically 30% to 60% of those posted on weekdays due to a lower number of tests being conducted.

The average daily number of new coronavirus cases in the United States over the past 14 days is 90,093, a 60% increase, based on data from the Department of Health and Human Services, among other sources.  The average daily death toll over the same period is 311, a decrease of 3% over the same period, while the average number of hospitalizations for the period was 21,039, a 21% increase.

In addition, since the start of the pandemic the United States has, as of Sunday, recorded 84.2 million cases, a higher figure than any other country, and a death toll of over 1 million. India has the world’s second highest number of officially recorded cases, over 43.1 million, and a reported death toll of 524,214..

New data from Russia’s Rosstat state statistics service showed at the end of April that the number of Covid or Covid-related deaths since the start of the pandemic there in April 2020 is now over 803,000, giving the country the world’s second highest pandemic-related death toll, after the United States.  Rosstat reported that 35,584 people died from the coronavirus or related causes in the month of March, compared to 43,543 in February.

Meanwhile, Brazil now has recorded the third highest number of deaths as a result of the virus, 664,920, and has seen close to 30.7 million cases.

France continues to occupy the number four position in total cases with 29.2 million cases, and Germany is in the number five slot with 25.8 million.  The United Kingdom, with close to 22.2 million cases, is now number six and is the only other country in the world with a total number of cases over the 20 million mark.


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that, as of Sunday, 257.8 million people in the United States – or 77.6% – have received at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine. Of that population, 66.4%, or 220.5 million people, have received two doses of vaccine, and the total number of doses that have been dispensed in the United States is now 581.4 million. Breaking this down further, 89.1% of the population over the age of 18 – or 229.9 million people – has received at least a first inoculation and 76.4% of the same group – or 197.2 million people – is fully vaccinated.  In addition, 49.9% of that population, or 98.4 million people, has already received a third, or booster, dose of vaccine.

Over 65.6% of the world population has received at least one dose of coronavirus vaccine by Sunday, according to Our World in Data, an online scientific publication that tracks such information.  So far, 11.65 billion doses of the vaccine have been administered on a global basis and 6.17 million doses are now administered each day.

Meanwhile, only 15.7% of people in low-income countries have received one dose, while in countries such as Canada, China, Denmark, France, Italy, the United Kingdom, and the United States, at least 75% of the population has received at least one dose of vaccine.

Only a handful of the world’s poorest countries – Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia and Nepal – have reached the 70% mark in vaccinations. Many countries, however, are under 20% and, in countries such as Haiti, Senegal, and Tanzania, for example, vaccination rates remain in the single digits, if not lower.

In addition, North Korea and Eritrea are now the only two countries in the world that have not administered vaccines.

Paul Riegler contributed to this story.


(Photo: Accura Media Group)

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